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Budget Magic: $64 (34 tix) Sunbird's Bounty (Standard)

Seavus, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we are heading to Rivals of Ixalan Standard to play a card that I've been hyped about since spoiler season but until now hadn't found its way into any of our decks: Brass's Bounty! While it's probably possible to build a fair Brass's Bounty deck by using the seven-mana sorcery as a ramp spell, it's even more exciting when played unfairly as part of a game-winning combo. How do you combo off with Brass's Bounty in Standard? With the help of Sunbird's Invocation, of course! The basic plan of the deck is simple: ramp into Sunbird's Invocation, cast a Brass's Bounty, and use our Sunbird's Invocation trigger to find a copy of Marionette Master, which means as soon as Brass's Bounty resolves, we can win the game by sacrificing all of our Treasure tokens to drain away our opponent life. Can the combo of Sunbird's Invocation and Brass's Bounty work in Standard? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck.

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Budget Magic: Sunbird's Bounty (Standard)

The Deck

Sunbird's Bounty is essentially a combo deck: our one and only goal is to resolve a Marionette Master and a Brass's Bounty, with Sunbird's Invocation being the fastest and easiest way to get both of those cards on the battlefield during the same turn. The rest of the deck is designed to keep us alive long enough to resolve our expensive combo pieces and to ramp into our combo as quickly as possible.

The Combo

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When it comes to winning the game, our deck has one plan: resolve Brass's Bounty and Marionette Master, ideally in the same turn to keep our opponent from being able to interact with our combo at sorcery speed. Once we resolve both combo pieces, winning is pretty simple. Brass's Bounty makes a ton of Treasure tokens (one for each land we control, which is at least seven but often more), and then we just sacrifice five Treasures to drain our opponent for 20 with Marionette Master. While the main plan of the deck is to cast our Marionette Master for free with the help of Sunbird's Invocation (more on this in a minute), it's also worth mentioning that we can use some of the Treasures we make with Brass's Bounty to help us cast our Marionette Master in a pinch. If we can get up 10 lands on the battlefield, we'll have enough mana that we can cast Brass's Bounty, use the rest of our lands and some Treasures to hard cast Marionette Master, and still have enough Treasure tokens left over to kill our opponent!

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While Sunbird's Invocation isn't technically needed for us to win the game with Brass's Bounty and Marionette Master, it's also the most important card in our entire deck. Assuming we have a Sunbird's Invocation on the battlefield, when we cast a Brass's Bounty, we get to dig seven cards deep to find a copy of Marionette Master, and if we do, we just win the game. Even if we whiff on finding a Marionette Master, the odds are pretty good that we hit another copy of Brass's Bounty, which gives us a bunch of extra Treasure tokens that we can use to cast something else from our hand and spin the wheel again for Marionette Master

The other big benefit of Sunbird's Invocation is that if we aren't quite ready to win the game, we can just use it for value by doubling up our ramp and card-draw spells or digging for our removal and sweepers to stay alive. All of our ramp makes sure we get Sunbird's Invocation down on the battlefield as quickly as possible, and once we untap with the enchantment on the battlefield, it's really hard to lose.


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Hour of Promise is our best ramp spell for a bunch of reasons. First, it gets us from five mana to seven mana, which is exactly enough to cast a Brass's Bounty. Second, it tutors up two lands, and because of how Brass's Bounty works, we want as many lands on the battlefield as possible. Third, Hour of Promise isn't just a ramp spell but also a land tutor, which allows us to find powerful one-of lands like Field of Ruin, Scavenger Grounds, and Arch of Orazca. Finally, Hour of Promise isn't just a ramp spell and a land tutor; it's also close to a Fog, giving us a couple of chump-blocking Zombies to make sure we survive another turn to cast our combo pieces and win the game. While it's a bit of a stretch, the Zombie tokens also offer a way of winning the game if something goes wrong with our primary plan of comboing off with Brass's Bounty and Marionette Master, especially if we can find a bunch of copies of Hour of Promise with the help of Sunbird's Invocation

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Rounding out our ramp package are Beneath the Sands and Spring // Mind. While a lot of decks in Standard use Gift of Paradise, in a deck featuring Brass's Bounty, we want all of our ramp spells to be putting real lands on the battlefield, which makes these two options the best. From a meta perspective, both cards are on curve with Hour of Promise, which gives us a nut draw of ramping with Beneath the Sands or Spring // Mind on Turn 3, Hour of Promise on Turn 4, and Brass's Bounty on Turn 5. More importantly, both Beneath the Sands and Spring // Mind have additional upsides, with Beneath the Sands cycling if we are searching desperately for another land, while Spring // Mind can draw us two cards from the graveyard with aftermath. Together, Beneath the Sands and Spring // Mind help us turbo into our combo and then, when we don't need extra lands, draw into our combo pieces.

Card Draw

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Glimmer of Genius helps make sure we find our combo pieces in a timely manner by digging four cards deep into our deck. Otherwise, Glimmer of Genius doesn't have any real specific purpose, although it can do some sweet tricks with Sunbird's Invocation since it's an instant (like casting it during our opponent's combat phase to dig for a removal spell, or at the end of our opponent's turn to find some ramp).


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Abrade is the ideal early-game removal spell for our deck because it not only kills annoying creatures like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner but also gives us a main-deck hedge against artifacts like Heart of Kiran and God-Pharaoh's Gift. Meanwhile, Hour of Devastation allows us to sweep away our opponent's board while also giving us a chance to deal with planeswalkers and hard-to-interact-with cards like Hazoret the Fervent. River's Rebuke probably looks strange, but it gives us a way to get rid of enchantments like Ixalan's Binding, which can lock out our combo pieces, and being six mana can actually be an upside because when we cast River's Rebuke, we can find a Marionette Master with Sunbird's Invocation

The Mana

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While most of our lands are for producing the four colors of mana we need to cast our spells, we do have a few spicy tutor targets for Hour of Promise. Arch of Orazca works really well with Hour of Promise, since the combination of two lands and two 2/2 Zombie tokens often turns on ascend, and then Arch of Orazca takes advantage of the fact that our deck makes a lot of mana by allowing us to draw an extra card every turn to find our combo pieces. Field of Ruin is helpful against all of the powerful flip-into-land cards, with Search for Azcanta and Treasure Map being the most important at the moment. Scavenger Grounds can win games all by itself against The Scarab God decks or God-Pharaoh's Gift, while having a bunch of Deserts helps make sure we can always get the Zombie tokens when we cast Hour of Promise, and some also allow us to cycle if we flood out.


As far as our record, we finished our video matches 3-2, but we played against Grixis a second time and lost in a close three-game match, bringing our total record to 3-3. While 3-3 isn't great, considering the deck is close to ultra-budget at $64 (and closer to $50 if you drop the single copy of Botanical Sanctum) and that it's an absolute blast to play with, it's competitive enough. While we suffer from some of the typical ramp problems—sometimes drawing the wrong part of our deck or getting run over by aggro if we have a clunky draw—the combination of Glimmer of Genius and Sunbird's Invocation means we actually set up our combo with some consistency if we live long enough to cast it. Plus, the good games with Sunbird's Bounty are so fun, explosive, and unique that it's worth putting up with a clunky game every once in a while.

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As far as changes I'd make to the (ultra) budget build of the deck, there aren't a ton. It would be nice to have something like Opt to smooth out draws and to potentially hit off Sunbird's Invocation when we are casting our three-mana ramp spells, but our mana isn't really good at casting Opt on Turn 1 (we're more likely to be playing a tapped land), and casting a cantrip later is a bit less exciting because we really want to be ramping. Otherwise, I could see tweaking the numbers on the removal and maybe going up more copies of Hour of Devastation as a Hazoret the Fervent answer, but I'm not really sure what to cut. Finally, the budget build of the deck can be a bit soft to Lost Legacy naming one of our combo pieces, so it might be worth it to run a backup finisher like Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh in the sideboard at the very least, although this would add a bit to the ultra-budget price tag.

All in all, Sunbird's Bounty probably isn't the most competitive Budget Magic deck we've played recently, but it's certainly one of the most fun and explosive, and it's competitive enough that you can win a reasonable number of games, especially if your local metagame isn't filled with counterspell-heavy control decks, which can be frustrating to play against with a deck full of six- and seven-mana sorcery-speed stuff. Plus, the deck is cheap enough that it can be a good secondary option for when you get tired of playing whatever deck you normally play and just want to combo some people off and make a ton of Treasure tokens!

Ultra-Budget Sunbird's Bounty

No ultra-budget list this week because the deck is already close to the ultra-budget price range. If you want to trim a few more dollars off the price of the deck, you can drop the Botanical Sanctum for another Desert or an Evolving Wilds. You can also cut Field of Ruin, although it's a really good tutor target against specific decks, so unless you are really trying to make the deck as cheap as possible, I'd try to keep at least one copy around to tutor up with Hour of Promise.

Making many upgrades to Sunbird's Bounty, even without budget being a concern, is difficult because much of the deck is dedicated to the combo and ramping into it, which makes most of the deck uncuttable. However, there are a couple of small changes that can be big improvements. First, in the main deck, we trim back on Glimmer of Geniuses for a couple copies of Vraska's Contempts, which give us a hard answer to Hazoret the Fervent and The Scarab God while also providing a way to deal with opposing planeswalkers. We also get a single copy of Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, which not only gives us a seven-mana spell to Sunbird's Invocation into Brass's Bounty but also a backup finisher if our opponent manages to Lost Legacy our Marionette Master or Sunbird's Invocation (this can be an issue with the ultra-budget build of the deck; our backup plan post-Lost Legacy is winning with 2/2 Zombies from Hour of Promise, which is theoretically possible but not really all that practical). Otherwise, we get a couple more Vraska's Contempts in the sideboard along with Chandra, Torch of Defiance and The Scarab God as additional threats in more controlling matchups. All in all, this build is an upgrade over the one in the videos, but I'm not sure it's worth paying four times as much for the upgrades. If you already have the expensive cards in your collection, you should run them, but if not, I'd just focus on playing the budget build and having fun with the deck.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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